Keep Your Eyes Safe this Summer!
Shield Your Eyes from UV Radiation
Eyes can be sunburned! The AOA reports that exposure to an excess amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation over even a short period of time, may
result in photokeratitis, or sunburn of the eye. Symptoms include:
- red eyes
- a sensation of having a foreign body in the eyes
- a gritty feeling in the eyes
This condition is temporary and rarely causes permanent damage to the eyes.
Long-term exposure to UV radiation, on the other hand, can lead to more serious conditions. Exposure to even the smallest amounts of UV
over a period of many years can increase your chance of developing a cataract. Exposure to UV radiation over time can also damage the re t i n a .
This damage is usually not reversible. UV radiation reaches us through sunlight, but it can also be given off by tanning machines. The types
of UV radiation that pose a threat to our eyes are UV-A and UV-B. They can both have damaging long- and short-term effects
on the eyes.
To protect your eyes, whenever you are working outdoors, participating in outdoor sports, or doing anything in the sun, wear quality sunglasses that
offer good protection and a hat or cap with a wide brim. If you spend a lot of time outdoors in sunlight, wrap-around frames provide additional protection
from harmful UV rays.
Your sunglasses should:
- block out 99% to 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation
- screen out 75% to 90% percent of visible light
- have lenses that are gray, green, or brown in color
Sunburn of the eye and cataracts can and do result from exposure to the sun. However, with some careful preparation, these conditions can
be mitigated or prevented.
Copyright © American Optometric Association. The American Optometric Association (AOA) represents the nationís largest group of primary eye care providers. Member optometrists work to improve the quality and availability of eye care for all Americans. Reprinted with permission.